History of New Zealand Rules of Go

In 1975 when the Auckland Go Society was formed an attempt was made by Rob Talbot to write down the rules of go without recourse to precedents. At the same time Ray Tomes discovered (invented) the Chinese method of counting and started using it in his own games. Some discussion ensued about the problem of life/death in counting led by Graeme Parmenter's "A plea for a fair trial for the bent four". Reference to some articles in Go World helped and in 1978 we agreed to adopt the Chinese rules of go as written in James Davies' article. Later these were decided to be not rigorous enough and the rules were rewritten using recursive definitions.

Some dissatisfaction was felt with the counting as some people preferred to use Japanese style counting. Also there is a difference in the score in some circumstances. There was an attempt to get around this by using Japanese style counting with pass stones for a year in 1986. This met with even more dissatisfaction and so the previous (chinese style) rules were restored and have been used until the present.

A komi of 5.5 was in use in 1985 and New Zealand tournaments consistently gave a higher percentage of games won by black. When we changed to Chinese style rules this increased as black gets a slight advantage over Japanese-style rules. The komi was increased to 6 in 1986. Later the komi was increased again to 7. Besides trying to even out the advantage of black playing first it was felt that perfect play should give a draw. Also we felt that some draws in tournaments were a good thing for the conduct of the tournament (requiring fewer tiebreaks). Probably a komi of 9 would be nearer the correct value but we are still a little conservative.


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